Saturday, November 28, 2009

Doug Anthony

Doug Anthony.

Who are you?

He's probably connected to the previous few people on the list. So, I'm going to guess he has a political background.

I don't think he's a Prime Minister. But I'll be ashamed if I'm wrong.

Well, good. He wasn't a Prime Minister. But he was a Deputy Prime Minister. He had that job under McMahon and Fraser.

Anyway, let's go to the beginning.

Baby John Douglas Anthony was born on New Years Eve in 1929. So I guess that means his early childhood occurred during The Great Depression.

His birthplace was in Murwillumbah, which is in north New South Wales. It's about two hours south of Brisbane.

Daddy Anthony was a politician in the Country Party.

At some point, Anthony went to The King's School in Sydney. Did he go for boarding school, or did his family move to Sydney?

If I'm reading this right, he did university studies in Agriculture. Well, Lord Wiki says he went to an agricultural college in Queensland. I'm not sure if college is being used as the American type, or Australian type. He could have gone to a high school that emphasized agriculture.

After finishing with school, Anthony did dairy farming near his birth town. In 1957 he got married. The lovely couple ended up having three kids. The youngest son followed in his dad's and granddad's political footsteps.

In the same year that Anthony got married, his dad died. I'm not sure what happened first....the marriage or the death. But Daddy Anthony had been a member of Parliament. After his death, the younger Anthony was elected to take his place. So Anthony ended up in the seat of Richmond. He would be in that seat from 1957-1984. Then his son would get the seat from 1996-2004. Right now, there's a Labor Politician in the seat....Justine Elliot.

In 1964, Anthony became Minister For the Interior. This seems to be border protection type stuff.

In 1967, he became Minister for Primary Industry. This is agricultural stuff. Well, that works out, since he had been a dairy farmer.

In 1971, John McEwen retired and Anthony became Deputy Prime Minister. Lord Wiki says he was likable, and people would have probably preferred him as Prime Minister over McMahon.

At times, Anthony impressed people by being tough with McMahon. He tried to protect the rural voters, such as when McMahon tried to raise petrol prizes. Anthony pushed him to back down on that issue.

There's something here about opposition stuff. I'm finding it a challenge to understand. But I might be able to get it. It seems in some areas, the Liberal opposition was in agreement with Whitlam's Labor government. Lord Wiki gives an example. Both sides agreed with expanding aid to underprivileged schools. But (if I'm reading this right), Anthony wanted a stronger opposition. He urged the Liberal Party to be extra oppositional. And he welcomed the dismissal of Whitlam.

That all sounds ridiculous to me. Why push to be more oppositional? Why not just vote for what you believe in? Is it so shameful for a left party to be in agreement every so often with the right?

Politics make me sick sometimes.

When Fraser became Prime Minister, Anthony returned to being the Deputy guy.

Lord Wiki says that Anthony had less power under Fraser than he did with McMahon.

Anthony retired from Parliament at the age of 55 in 1984. Before this, he was given the honorary title of Father of the House of Representatives. This goes to the person in Parliament who has been there for the longest time. Right now, the guy who has that honor is Phillip Ruddock.

This ABC dynasty website has some information on the Anthony family.

It says Anthony was the youngest child in his family. His dad was elected to Parliament when he was seven. Anthony remembers staying at a hotel in Canberra and being read bedtime stories by John Curtin. Really? What? Was John Curtin babysitting him or something? That would have been about 1936.

Well, I doubt Curtin was babysitting. I was joking about that. He was Labor leader at the time. Maybe they were all at some kind of meeting, and Curtin took time out to read a child a story. It's sweet....politicians from one party giving attention to kids from other political parties.

Anthony's mom died when he was eleven. After that, Anthony went to The Kings School as a boarder. So, that answers my question from before.

Anthony attended Gatton Agricultural College. I think it looks like a university more than a high school. It's part of the University of Queensland.

After Anthony graduated, he went to help his dad on his dairy farm.

This is interesting. Anthony published a book of letters written by his father. It's called Letters Home To Mother from Gallipoli and Beyond.

There's a comedy group that got their name from Doug Anthony. They call themselves the Doug Anthony Allstars. I'm not sure why they chose that name.....

Here's an article about the book of letters that Anthony published. He says he found the letters in a school case. I'm not quite sure what a school case is. Anyway, Anthony opened it and found a bunch of mementos kept by his father. One treasure was a bundle of postcards that Daddy Anthony had sent to his mother when he was fighting in World War I. Anthony says his father rarely talked about Gallipoli so he never really knew that aspect of his dad's life. That's pretty cool that he found those letters. I have so many diaries and old letters saved. I wonder if any of my descendants will ever be interested in reading them. I kind of hope so.

Now I'm having fun on Google News Archive. That thing is awesome. Anyway, there was a Sydney Morning Herald article on 31 May 1964 saying Anthony was heading to Asia and would be missing the upcoming Beatles concert.

Well, I'm going to make this a short post. There's some agricultural information I can dig into, but I'm not really all that interested. Sorry!


  1. Hi Dina, another person from the region in which I grew up! My hometown of Lismore and the region nearby seems to punch above its weight when it comes to people going on to fame and success. Maybe a post about Lismore sometime? :) James

  2. I should know a lot more about Doug Anthony than I do, but I don't!

    Interesting what you say about his view of being in Opposition. The Liberal Party is having the same argument today over climate change policy.

    I started getting interested in politics just as Anthony retired and I know his successor, Ian Sinclar, much better, and met him a few times.

  3. James: Hi! Maybe Lismore has something special in the water ; )

    Michael: I need to read more about what's going on in the Liberal party. I'm so busy reading about the past. I'm doing an awful job keeping up with the present.

  4. I had the pleasure and honor of working with Doug Anthony.He'd hate this to be said about him but, despite his reputation, he was a brilliant man who could absorb a brief better than anybody I ever encountered. He was a throroughly charming gentleman who, as you rightly say, could be very tough if he felt that it was necessary

  5. Anonymous,

    I'm glad you enjoyed working with him. It sounds like he left a very positive impression on you.